Home > Kansas Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Articles

Kansas Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Kansas Emergency Vehicle Light State Statutes

Disclaimer

This article was written by a contributing author, and is not meant to be taken as legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the state statutes. Do your due diligence, cross-check the statutes linked, and communicate with your local municipalities, registrar, or commissioner to ensure that you remain compliant and avoid costly fees.

Kindly contact us if you have any suggestions to improve this article here.

Get Help and Avoid The Statute Confusion

As a courtesy, we are happy to connect you to an expert in your state who will guide you on being compliant with your emergency vehicle lighting and other warning equipment.

Call us at 888-439-1925.

State Overview

Kansas has several laws surrounding the use of LED emergency lights for authorized emergency vehicles, commercial vehicles, and personal vehicles. The rules and regulations are scattered throughout several statutes, and some ambiguity exists, which may be confusing. Ensure that you read through the statutes for your industry, and contact your local municipalities for further clarification if necessary.

Note: Kansas State Statute 8-1404 defines authorized emergency vehicles as:

  • Fire Department Vehicles
  • Publicly Owned Police Vehicles
  • Publicly Owned Police Bicycles
  • Motor Vehicles Operated by Ambulance Services
  • Tow Trucks, Wreckers, or Car Carriers With Certificate of Public Serve

No other vehicles qualify as authorized emergency vehicles in the state of Kansas. Tow trucks or wreckers generally do not qualify as an authorized emergency vehicle except when police are present for an emergency and allow them to behave as such. This is unique to Kansas.

Law Enforcement Statutes 

Police, Marshall, and Sheriff Vehicles

Police vehicles or law enforcement vehicles may have two red lamps to the front of the vehicle positioned at the same level and spaced as widely apart as practicable. They may also have two red lamps to the rear positioned at the same level spaced as widely as possible. In place of the four lamps, police vehicles or law enforcement vehicles may have at least one oscillating light that displays to the front and rear of the vehicle a red light or alternately flashing red and white lights or red and blue light combination. These emergency lights must be visible at 500 feet during normal sunlight. This is all according to Kansas State Statute 8-1720.

In addition to the red lights, red and white light, or red and blue light, Kansas State Statute 8-1722 states that police vehicles or law enforcement vehicles may display an amber light inside the rear window or on the top of the vehicle, all spaced as widely apart as practicable. The amber beacon may be used in combination with any other lights emergency vehicle lights, and it must be visible at no less than 500 feet in normal sunlight.

Kansas State Statute 8-1506 allows authorized emergency vehicles such as a police car or other law enforcement vehicles to disregard the posted speed limit or any other traffic law when its emergency vehicle lights are illuminated and is responding to an emergency call. Emergency responders operating the police car must do so with due regard to the safety of each motor vehicle on the road or highway to prevent a car accident.

Each motor vehicle on the road or highway must yield to police vehicles and law enforcement vehicles when their LED emergency vehicle lights are illuminated. This is done by changing lanes, slowing down, or pulling off the road or highway completely to allow for the safe operation and passage of emergency responders.

Fire and EMS Statues

Fire Trucks and Fire Chief SUVs

As authorized emergency vehicles, fire trucks and fire department vehicles may have signal lamps at the front that are spaced as widely apart as possible and to the rear as widely apart as possible. There must be two in the front and back, and they all must be red. In lieu of the four red lamps, Kansas State Statute 8-1720 allows there to be at least one flashing, rotating, or oscillating that displays to the front and rear of the fire truck or fire department vehicles. This light must be red or alternate between red and white or alternate between red, white, and blue. These lamps must be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight.

A fire truck may disregard the posted speed limit or any other traffic laws while its emergency vehicle lights are illuminated, and it is utilizing an audible signal such as a horn, siren, or whistle. When disregarding traffic laws, emergency responders must operate the fire truck or fire department vehicle with due regard to the safety of each motor vehicle on the road or highway to prevent an accident. This is all covered under Kansas State Statute 8-1506.

Every motor vehicle on the road or highway is obligated by Kansas law to yield to a fire truck or vehicle operated by the fired department when its emergency vehicle lights are illuminated. This is done by changing lanes, slowing down, or pulling off the road or highway entirely to allow for the safe operation and passage of emergency responders.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Vehicles

Volunteer firefighter vehicles are operated the same as those that are owned and operated by the fire department. Kansas State Statute 8-1720 requires that they have four lamps. Two red lights in the front and rear spaced as widely as possible. In lieu of the four lamps, at least one oscillating light that is red, red, white, or red, white, and blue may be used. This light must be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight.

Kansas State Statute 8-1506 allows volunteer firefighter vehicles to disregard the posted speed limit or any other traffic law when responding to an emergency call. They must do so while their emergency vehicle lights are illuminated, and an audible signal such as a horn, siren, or whistle is used. Emergency responders operating the volunteer firefighter vehicles must do so with due regard to the safety of every motor vehicle on the road or highway.

Ambulance and EMT Vehicles

The way LED emergency lights are used on an ambulance is identical to how they are used on a fire department vehicle. Kansas State Statute 8-1720 requires that they have four red signal lamps. Two in the front and two in the rear that are spaced as widely apart as possible. In lieu of the four lamps, an ambulance may be equipped with at least one oscillating light that is red or alternated between red and white or red, white, and blue. These lights must be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight.

Kansas State Statute 8-1506 allows an ambulance to disregard the posted speed limit or any other traffic law when responding to an emergency. The ambulance’s emergency vehicle lights must be illuminated, and there must be an audible signal such as a bell, siren, or whistle. Emergency responders operating the ambulance must do so with due regard to the safety of every motor vehicle on the road or highway.

Traffic is obligated to yield to an ambulance when its emergency vehicle lights are illuminated by slowing down, changing lanes, or pulling off the road or highway completely. This allows them to operate safely and arrive quickly and safely at an emergency scene.

Commercial and Amber Statutes

Security Vehicles

Security vehicles are not explicitly mentioned in Kansas law, but since Kansas State Statute 8-1722 allows any vehicle to display warning lights to indicate a safety hazard on the road or highway, it is safe to assume security vehicles may as well. Color isn’t mentioned, but they are typically amber beacons, and they must be seen at 500 feet in normal sunlight.

Wreckers and Tow Trucks

Unique to Kansas is that tow trucks may be considered authorized emergency vehicles. Kansas State Statute 8-1722 allows them to have two amber lights facing the front of the tow truck or wrecker while the back has an amber and red light. All lights must flash simultaneously and be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight.

Tractors

According to Kansas State Statute 8-1722, tractors may have amber beacons that face the front and an amber and red light to the rear. The lights must be visible at 500 feet and flash simultaneously. Kansas State Statute 8-1726 also allows a tractor to have a spotlight to illuminate the work they are doing as long as the light is never pointed toward traffic.

Utility Vehicles

Per Kansas State Statute 8-1722, utility vehicles may have two amber lights at the front of the vehicle and amber and red lights flashing simultaneously in the rear to alert traffic of the safety hazard present on the road or highway. Each light must be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight. 

Pilot and Escort Vehicles

Specific instructions were not given regarding the use of LED warning lights on a pilot vehicle. Kansas State Statute 8-1722 does permit any vehicle to have warning lights equipped to alert traffic of a safety hazard present on the road or highway. The warning lights facing the vehicle’s front must be placed as widely apart as possible and must be simultaneously flashing amber. The emergency vehicle lights toward the read may be red and amber and must be spaced as widely apart as possible with a visibility distance of 500 feet in normal sunlight.

The conditions of which a pilot vehicle may use its warning lights was not explicitly stated except to warn of a hazard on the road or highway. As a pilot vehicle, these hazards would include oversized loads, loads with materials extending past the end of the bed, and slowly moving vehicles that traffic should be aware of.  

Construction Vehicles

A construction vehicle may have warning lights to indicate to traffic that a safety hazard is present on the road or highway. The colors of the warning lights are not indicated by they are typically amber and are placed toward the front of the construction vehicle, spaced as widely apart as possible. Construction vehicles may also have a red and amber light in the rear visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight. This is all described in Kansas State Statute 8-1722

Kansas State Statute 8-1715 requires a construction vehicle or truck to have two red lamps if the load it is carrying extends four feet or more past the end of the bed and one red lamp to the sides to indicate where the overhang may end. These red lamps must be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight. 

Funeral Procession

Kansas State Statute 8-1722 allows any vehicle to install warning lights on their vehicle to alert traffic of a safety hazard present on the road or highway. A funeral procession is generally a slow-moving event, which constitutes as a road hazard. The lights on a funeral procession escort vehicle must be amber if aimed toward the vehicle’s front and may be flashing amber and red lights toward the rear. The warning lights must be visible at no less than 500 feet in normal sunlight.

In some states, a funeral procession is permitted to utilize the red light to obtain the right away by alerting traffic that they need to yield. That wasn’t immediately clear in Kansas law, nor were the traffic yielding requirements. Please contact your local authorities and municipalities to obtain more clarity regarding allowed driving behaviors when utilizing emergency vehicle lights.

Personal Use 

Emergency Lights On Personal Vehicles

Typically, emergency lights on a personal vehicle are not permitted unless the vehicle is used by a volunteer for the police department, fire department, or EMS. Kansas State Statute 8-1722 states that any vehicle may use “warning lights” to alert traffic of a road safety hazard that is present so that they may proceed with caution. Although these lights are usually amber, the color was not indicated in the statute. Be sure to contact your local authorities before equipping your personal vehicle with an amber beacon so that you are fully aware of permits and restrictions surrounding its use.

Summary

Special Permits

Generally, some vehicles and industries will need permits or licenses to operate while using LED emergency vehicle lights. It wasn’t immediately clear in Kansas law which vehicles may need to obtain a permit, aside from the towing industry when operating as an authorized emergency vehicle. Contact your local authorities and municipalities before equipping your fleet with LED warning lights to remain compliant and avoid costly fees and fines.

Takeaway

Kansas law is a little difficult to navigate, and some of the rules and regulations regarding LED lights for specific industries may be ambiguous and unclear. The compiled information above is not meant to be used as legal advice or replace the state statutes. Ensure that you do your due diligence by rereading the state statutes for your industry. If any confusion remains, contact your local municipalities for further guidance and clarity.


Let’s Optimize Your Fleet

RELATED CONTENT